Tag Archives: Tim Howard

Quick Hits: 1/06/10

Happy New Year.

Hope you all have enjoyed the holidays and all of the sporting events.

What a great time of the year.  The NFL is gearing up for the playoffs, college bowl season is fantastic, out-door hockey, and college basketball has started conference play.  Plus international soccer leagues are about to open transfer season and the NBA has been strong since the season started.

But let’s start with my favorite NFL Team – The Minnesota Vikings. Who are now taking the week off to rest before their match-up next weekend.

The Vikings beat-up a tired, ready-to-be-done New York Giants, 44-7.  Yes – we are back on track! I would be very careful about getting to comfortable with a win against a team that had a 0% chance of making the playoffs.

Let’s recap:

After the Vikings started 10-1 and gave a win away to the Steelers, they lost 3 of their last 5 games and really showed flaws – but we will not getting to that now.

Let’s look at their schedule.

  1. Of the thirteen different teams the Purple played in the year, only five had winning records. The Packers (11-5), Steelers and Ravens (9-7), Cardinals (10-6), and Bengals(10-6).
  2. Twelve wins were against teams with a combined record of 66-94, highlighted by wins against Green Bay (2 wins), Baltimore, Cincinnati, and two 8-8 teams in the 49ers and the Giants.
  3. Four losses to Arizona, Chicago (7-9), Carolina (8-8) and Pittsburgh with a combined record of 34-30.
  4. Total combined record of all opponents = 93-115*.

*Some of the numbers may look off – but I only used the records of conference opponents once.

I know you can only play the teams on your schedule, but there has to be more concern about a team that has played so inconsistently against poorer teams.  The Vikings have weapons all over the field – yet there now is an uncertainty that was not there in the first half of the year.

Losing E.J. Henderson was huge, Antoine Winfield missed a good deal fo the season, and Bernard Berrian is finally healthy.  Bryannt McKinnie is playing better of late, but was awful for a while.  The offensive line as a whole needs to give Brett Favre time.  Jared Allen looks like every other defensive end in the league, not like Allen who was an MVP candidate.  That falls on the defensive cordinator for not scheming enough to get Allen away from double and triple teams, because you know Allen’s motor is not problem.

We still have Favre, AP, Percy and Rice – the Sydney Edition – and very good defense.  Yet, I have this feeling that the Cowboys or Eagles are going to come to the Dome and blow it up.

The thought of the Vikings woes have not kept me up at night – I have a six-week-old baby girl to do that for me – but there has to be concern running through this organization.  Head Coach Brad Childress has never been in this situation – a first round bye.  A lot will be said about what kind of coach he really is with this much time to prepare.  Childress – prove you are worthy of the contract extension.  Because I don’t think you deserved it.

Best College Basketball Program Of The 2000’s

I started this around Christmas, and totally forgot about it.  But this decade has been quite the decade for College Basketball  powerhouses to reestablish themselves and new ones to appear.

So here the suspects: Michigan State (Champs in ’00), Duke(’01) UConn (’04), UNC (’05 and ’09), Florida (’06 and ’07), and Kansas(’08).  I did not include the ’02 Maryland and ’03 Syracuse – no real reason to explain.

And here are the Top Five.

Honorable Mention: UConn – The Huskies have been monsters in the Big East and had a great team in ’04.  But they were a George Mason run away from their second title of the decade in ’06.  Can you imagine that game Florida Vs. UConn?  Just to get to the Championship game.  So much NBA talent – head – going –  to – explode.

5.  Duke – Winning in 2001 with arguable the best team of the decade – Jason Williams, Shane Battier, Carlos Boozer, Mike Dunleavy, Nate James and Chris Duhon.  Had more wins in the 2000’s than any other program with 291, won 7 ACC Tourney Championships and four regular season Championships.  But played in only two Final Fours and came up very short later in the decade – by Duke standards.

4.  Florida – I know what you are thinking how can the only back-to-backers in the decade be 4th.  A couple of reasons.  The “What have you done for me lately” mentality kicks in hard since the last title.  Only won three SEC tourney championships, but only one outright SEC regular season championship and two co-championships.

3.  Kansas – Consistency kills.  From Roy Williams to Bill Self, the Jayhawks never slipped.  Never fell into the funk that Florida did.  One very good team with Kirk Hinrich, Nick Collison that played in two Final Fours and then one great team in the 2008 Jayhawks, led by Bradon Rush, Mario Chalmers, Sherron Collins, Darrel Arthur, and Darnell Jackson.  They also dominated the Big 12, like no other powerhouse dominated their conference with seven total regular season Championships.

2. Michigan State – One National Championship, four Final Four’s (with the ’99 Final Four, they made three appearances in a row.  Only other team to do that is UCLA in the last ten years).  Fall victim to the fact that they never dominated a conference that was very weak for most of the decade, winning only three regular season Championships and only one tourney crown in 2000.  The 2005 team is one of my favorite teams of the decade with Shannon Brown, Maurice Ager, and Drew Neitzel which beat Adam Morrison’s 43 points and Gonzaga in triple-overtime in the Maui Invitational.

1.  North Carolina – Two National Championships, four Final Fours, and probably has built the biggest and best recruiting/NBA pipeline ever.  UNC does not rebuild – they “reload”.  But then you have the Matt Doherty fail.  Doherty took the team from No. 1 in the country in his first season to 8-20 in his second to 17-15 in his third.  He had players, the same players the Williams won with in 2005.  We can not forget Tyler Hansbrough.  Without him, 2006 would have been difficult.  This program has returned to dominance and there is not end in sight.

Coach of the Decade Award – Tom Izzo.  Roy Williams would be a very close second, but Izzo just wins.  And like many of the top coaches, his passion is obvious.  Izzo has also become such a part of the community like that make the fans love him even more.

College Basketball Mini Hits

  • Evan Turner is expect to be back tonight against Indiana, earlier than first thought.  And all is right in the Buckeye nation.
  • No. 4 Purdue beat the Gophers pretty handily, 79-60.  The first half was close only because the Boilermakers could not shot the ball.  That changed in the second half.
  • No. 2 Texas was pushed by Arkansas 96-85.  Even with foul trouble, Damion James won the game with a couple big jump shots to seal the game. 
  • UNC lost to Charleston 79-82.  While it is big for Charleston, it is still early January.  Everything will be OK.  UNC will be just fine, they just need to get healthy.

Landon Donovan Has Arrived In England

The US Soccer golden boy is set to begin his 10-week loan with Everton which is a soccer club in the English Premier League.

“I am ready to enjoy it and I want to personally get myself sharp while I am here,” Donovan said Tuesday. “Tim Howard has had nothing but great things to say about this team so I am excited. Going into a World Cup year this experience will keep me sharp.”

The loan is great for Donovan as he has come into his own as a player.  With his showing with the US in the Confederations Cup and with the LA Galaxy, Donovan is looking to replace the issues he has had in Europe with a good spell with Everton.

This loan also increase the amount of attention surrounding the US National Team’s opening group stage match against England in South Africa this summer.  SideNote:  ESPN will be showing World Cup games in 3-D.  WHAT?

Donovan will need sometime to get back into shape, but this is a great situation for him.  Donovan is a very sensitive person, and his play fluctuates with his emotions.  So having Howard there is key.  A fellow American who has seen Donovan play to the best of his ability and can be there to give guidance if needed.

Click here for the entire article.

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Quick Hits: 12/08/09

Happy Holidays everyone.  I apologize for my lack of posting – I find it tough during the holidays – but this year I have an even more legit “excuse”.  My daughter was born on Nov. 24th.  So my wife and I have been busy with that, along with trying to get everything ready for Christmas.

That being said, here is a very Mini-Quick Hits.

1. Allen Iverson returns to Philly – I will have more on this later.  Here is ESPN.com’s Chris Sheridans view on it.

2. The US Men’s National Team will play England in the first round of the Group Stage of the 2010 World Cup.  I have said this before, but the US Soccer site is pretty sweet.  Here is the article from www.ussoccer.com.

3. Speaking of soccer (that was my well thought-out transition) – Everton, a mid-table club in the English Premier League – also the team of US National Team goalie Tim Howard, is reportedly interested in Landon Donavon.

4. Injury Update

  • Ohio State’s Evan Turner broke 2 vertebrae and will be out up to eight weeks.  Here is the AP article.  I am a big fan of Turner and feel bad for the kid.  I hope he comes back ath the same level, with even more drive!
  • Vikings middle linebacker and Captain E.J. Henderson broke his leg in the game on Sunday night.  After playing in only 4 games last season because of an injury with dislocated toes, the Henderson will be out the reminder of the season.
  • On the other end of the healing spectrum – The Timberwolves welcomed back Kevin Love from a broken wrist. In the three games back, Love has played 24, 26, and 30 minutes and is averaging 15.7 ppg, 9.3 rpg and two steals a game.

5. North Dakota State’s All-Time leading scorer, Ben Woodside, is set to play in the Pro A League All-Star game in France.  Woodside was selected as the member of the best non-French team that will compete against the best French players in the league.  Woodside is averaging 16.6 ppg in 31 minutes a game. 

Woodside also has a blog that he keeps rather up-to-date at http://benwoodside.blogspot.com.

6. The Heisman Trophy finalist have been announced.  They are: Toby Gerhart – RB from Stanford, Mark Ingram – RB from Alabama, Colt McCoy – QB from Texas, Ndamukong Suh – DT from Nebraska , and some guy named Tim Tebow . 

7. It is Really no Surprise, but Joe Mauer was Announced as the Winner of Most Valuable Player in the American League of Major League Baseball.  I wanted that sentence to feel grand and important – so I capitalized a lot!

The following info is from ESPN.com.

AL MVP Voting

Joe Mauer received 27 of 28 first-place votes to win his first AL MVP award. The only other player to get a first-place vote was the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera, who finished fourth. A breakdown of the voting:

Player, team Total
Joe Mauer, Twins 387
Mark Teixeira, Yankees 225
Derek Jeter, Yankees 193

Here is the link for the full article by the AP on ESPN.com. Plus you get some video.

Mauer is only the second catcher, Ivan Rodriguez in ’99, to win the award.  And is the second Twin on the current roster to win the AVP Award.  Justin Morneau won the award in 2006 – that announcement was not as accepted as this one.  Mauer was the best candidate, and it would have been fun, if Morneau would have been healthy, to see them both as top five finisher.

Twins MVPS

  • Mauer
  • Morneau
  • Rod Carew (’77)
  • Harmon Killebrew (’69)
  • Zoilo Versalles (’65)

Finalists for the Toyota Award Announced – And Other Soccer Goodness

While most of you are probably asking; “Is an award for a fuel efficient car?”  It is not.Landon Donovan

“…the 2009 Honda Player of the Year Award that honors the best performer on the U.S. national team.” and the finalist are: LA Galaxy (MLS) midfielder – Landon Donovan, Everton (English Premier League) goalie – Tim Howard, and Hull City (EPL) striker – Jozy Altidore.

Here is the press release from ESPN.com, which I quoted earlier.

This is a great topic as US Soccer has become the “IT” team as they upset Spain and made it the finals to play Brazil in the Confederation Cup this summer, and writer Bill Simmons has become a fan of the game, which gets them even more ESPN.com front page coverage.

The three finalists have proven extremely valuable to the US National Team.  Howard and Donovan have been regulars on the first team for years, but Altidore has just recently taken hold of a starting spot.  But if you take these players off the team, the US would not have a chance of getting to South Africa in 2010.

Tim HowardEveryone knows Donovan.  He has been the “next great hope” for nearly ten years , he currently is the captain of LA Galaxy, has always been good on the national team.  But this summer has seen take his game to a new level.  He has taken over for a when the team needed him and knows when and how to use his teammates.  His creativity and pace have pushed him to new confidence and has turned in some quality goals.

Howard has firmly taken his place on top the list of talented-bald-headed-American goal keepers.  Howard has kept the US team in many games.  When he is on top of his game, he seems to be one step ahead, getting to lose balls with authority and commanding the defense like a general.  He has been one of the best keepers in England on a team that is lacking a solid back line.Jozy Altidore

Altidore is unlike the other two.  He is here because he performed well this summer, but he is younger, only 19-year-old, and does not have the body of work like Howard and Donovan.  That said, Altidore is the future of American soccer and we have seen his progress against some of the best teams in the world.  Even from the early part of the summer, he have seen his first touch get better, and his ability to hold of defenders with his strength is impressive.  At this rate, we will see on this list of finalist for many years to come.

This is not the award for the best American player, its for the player who has performed the best for the US National Team.  It is tough a decision between Howard and Donovan.  You could really argue the case for either guy and it would make sense.

If the choice were up to me, I would pick…wait for it…Landon Donovan.

Without Donovan, the US would look lost.  The don’t have another player as creative as Donovan and he can change the game quickly and is not afraid to involve his teammates.

USA Roster – Honduras/Costa Rica from USSoccer.com

Players Pos. Ht. Wt. Birthdate Hometown Club/College Caps/Goals
Altidore, Jozy F 5-11 175 11/06/89 Boca Raton, Fla. Hull City (England) 19/8
Bocanegra, Carlos D 6-0 170 05/25/79 Alta Loma, Calif. Stade Rennais (France) 72/11
Bornstein, Jonathan D 5-9 145 11/07/84 Los Alamitos, Calif. Chivas USA 22/1
Bradley, Michael M 6-2 175 07/31/87 Manhattan Beach, Calif. Borussia Moenchengladbach (Germany) 36/6
Casey, Conor F 6-1 170 07/25/81 Gilpin, Colo. Colorado Rapids 14/0
Cherundolo, Steve D 5-6 145 02/19/79 San Diego, Calif. Hannover 96 (Germany) 54/2
Ching, Brian F 5-11 195 05/24/78 Haleiwa, Hawaii Houston Dynamo 43/10
Clark, Ricardo M 5-10 150 05/10/83 Jonesboro, Ga. Houston Dynamo 25/2
Conrad, Jimmy D 6-2 185 02/12/77 Temple City, Calif. Kansas City Wizards 26/1
Cooper, Kenny F 6-3 210 10/21/84 Dallas, Texas 1860 Munich (Germany) 9/4
Davies, Charlie F 5-10 160 06/25/86 Manchester, N.H. Sochaux (France) 16/4
Dempsey, Clint F 6-1 170 03/09/83 Nacogdoches, Texas Fulham FC (England) 59/17
Donovan, Landon M 5-8 150 03/04/82 Redlands, Calif. Los Angeles Galaxy 118/41
Feilhaber, Benny M 5-9 150 01/19/85 Irvine, Calif. AGF Aarhus (Denmark) 26/2
Goodson, Clarence D 6-4 170 05/17/82 Alexandria, Va. IK Start (Norway) 6/1
Guzan, Brad GK 6-4 210 09/09/84 Homer Glen, Ill. Aston Villa (England) 13/0
Holden, Stuart M 5-10 160 08/01/85 Houston, Texas Houston Dynamo 8/2
Howard, Tim GK 6-3 210 03/06/79 North Brunswick, N.J. Everton FC (England) 46/0
Onyewu, Oguchi D 6-4 210 05/13/82 Olney, Md. AC Milan (Italy) 49/5
Rogers, Robbie M 5-10 165 05/12/87 Huntington Beach, Calif. Columbus Crew 6/1
Spector, Jonathan D 6-0 180 03/01/86 Arlington Heights, Ill. West Ham United (England) 20/0
Torres, Jose Francisco M 5-7 135 10/29/87 Longview, Texas Pachuca (Mexico) 6/0

Bradley Names 22-Man Roster To Prepare For Final CONCACAF Qualifying Matches For The 2010 FIFA World Cup Against Honduras and Costa Rica.

Info from USSoccer.com.

Other American Soccer Articles

Destination 2010: America’s quest to play in World Cup 2010 all hinged on one week in Septemberby Luke Cyphers for ESPN the Magazine

Donovan ‘proud’ of Beckham’s MLS progress by Martin Rogers from Yahoo Sports.

Donovan should headline MLS’ Best XI lineupby Kristian Dyer for ESPNsoccernet.

Random David Beckham Thought

As I have stated before, I am almost done with Grant Wahl’s books, The Beckham Experiment. And after reading and watching some clips, I need to ask a question to all soccer fans out there.

Why has nothing been said about the fact since leaving ManU, he has always signed with clubs that have Adidas as thier kit/jersey provider?

Everyone knows that Beckham has been an Adidas guy for years, but I find this very interesting, for lack of a better word.  Maybe this is more commonplace than I thought.  But since he left ManU – jerseys made my Nike – he has been with Real Madrid, LA Galaxy and AC Milan – all have their jerseys provided by Adidas.

david-beckham-real-madridDavid_Beckham_LA_Galaxy6736626